Framing Your Problem the Right Way
Even if you’re not in Sales, the fact is you still have to sell all the time. A lot of the time we don’t know what to say when we’re on a sales call because it feels uncomfortable, or like we’re pushing ourselves onto somebody else.
However, when you understand how people make decisions, what you say in a sales call becomes very simple. It’s even simpler when you realize that how people make decisions follows the same path as the Red Thread.
If a prospect agreed to a call or meeting with you, then at some level, the meeting itself is an indication that they’re trying to achieve a goal – and they think meeting with you might help them solve it. So start with that question: What is it you’re trying to get? What do you want to happen? If you understand what your audience wants, you can figure out how to frame the Problem in a way that resonates for them and their Goal.
When you’re thinking through a sales call, keep in mind that each step of the Red Thread is an opportunity to stop and ask questions. This gives you a chance to make sure that they’re moving forward with you, so you’re both working together to solve their goal.
– How can the Red Thread help you with your sales calls? I’m Tamsen Webster of tamsenwebster.com and that’s what we’re talking about this week on Find the Red Thread.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider myself a natural salesperson. It’s why I went into marketing 20 years ago. And yet, despite my best attempts at avoidance, I found myself having to sell all the time. Having to convince other people to adopt a new program, to promote a business, to sell an idea or an initiative, to sell a pitch when I was working in agencies.
I ended up having to sell all the time. And yet I was terrified of it, because I never really knew exactly what to say. And I think that’s what gets in most of our ways when it comes down to how do we make a successful sales call. We don’t know what to say, because it feels really uncomfortable to us, because it feels, for some of us (me at least), it feels like you’re pushing yourself on somebody else.
So, in a lot of ways, the reason why I came up with the Red Thread was to deal with some of my own inadequacies. What I realized was when you understand how people make decisions, what you say in a sales call becomes very, very simple.
Here’s what I mean: we all want something, and if somebody’s agreed to meet with you about whatever your product or service is then at some level, there is a goal that they have. You can either assume that goal or you can start a sales call with that question: What is it you’re trying to get? What is the thing that’s most important to you? I know that goes a little bit against the, “Hey, what’s keeping you up at night?”, first question, but for me understanding what somebody really wants helps me immediately put myself on their side and helps me put myself in their shoes.
From there, then it’s a lot easier to understand how to frame the Problem as I see it. And remember, you should have already done this work about what your product and service is, what problem it solves, why you solve it that way and how your approach is different. But once you understand what someone’s goal is, understanding how to frame the Problem as you see it becomes much, much easier.
If someone is trying to increase operational efficiency, then you can put your Problem in terms of that. If they don’t even understand why they’re having a problem, raising awareness in the marketplace for instance, you can then frame your Problem that way. One is going to be a much more explaining type of sales call and one of them is going to be a much more tactical type of sales call. But either way, you’re going to end up matching much more closely, not only the information that somebody needs to make a decision, but delivered in the way that they need it.
When you’re thinking through a sales call, understand that each point of the Red Thread is an opportunity to stop and ask questions so that you don’t get trapped in this danger of a monologue of “here’s my message, let me deliver it.” You have that opportunity to stop and ask about the Goal. You have an opportunity to stop and ask and clarify whether or not they see the Problem the way that you do and to answer any questions or concerns. In other words, you get an opportunity to hit every step where they need to move forward to make sure they are moving forward.
And you get to exchange information. Not in a 20 questions kind of way, but in a way that helps both of you work together to solve a goal. And isn’t that the kind of relationship that you want with somebody that you sell to?
I hope that’s helpful this week as you’re trying to figure out what to say on your next sales call. If you need to go back and do the work of what the red thread of your product or service or you is, download the Red Thread worksheet at findyourredthread.com. I hope to hear from you soon.